Chickashanews.com

Opinion

October 25, 2013

Point-to-Point

(Continued)

CHICKASHA —

Instead, we have an almost Microsoftian error that prevents the uninsured from getting help and leaves doubts in the mind of every American.

 

A teacher in Danver, Mass., was found dead in the woods outside her school, and a 14-year-old student has been charged with her murder. Is it justified that he, according to the state's law, be tried as an adult?

 

JB: I'm not trying to take anything away from the tragic nature of Massachusetts teacher Colleen Ritzer's death. The 24-year-old's demise was horrific. Justice needs to be done. 

However, I cannot abide charging 14-year-old suspect Phillip Chism as an adult. The evidence is strong against Chism, but trying him as an adult is simply wrong. Young teenagers have some notion of consequences, but I find it very hard to believe they grasp the full gravity of their actions. I can vouch for this personally with some of my more interesting life decisions being made during my early teens. 

The last thing we as a society need to do is set some sort of precedent on how we deal with juvenile criminals in the wake of this tragedy.

 

AT: I have sympathy for children, and I probably have a little more sympathy than I should for criminals.

It seems to me the justice system should focus on rehabilitation, not punishment; however, there must be a punishment aspect involved when someone is found guilty of a crime. This is even more true for taking the life of another, and if this 14-year-old is, in fact, found guilty, than trying him as an adult is justified.

I remember when I was 14, and I remember my friends who were 14. The idea that a person of that age does not fully understand the actions and implications of murder is naive. These are not the sheltered, innocent kids of yesterday; the youth of today is far more advanced, regardless of whether that's a good or a bad thing.

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